Jesus the Refugee

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By Sister Sharon Havelak, OSF

I began writing this as a quiet reflection on the season of Advent. But life is never that tidy!

I’ve been working on updating an image to use for my Christmas card, but finally decided that I’d never get it done in time. As I searched for an image to use in its place, I came across a powerful reflection on the refugee situation that I’d like to share. It comes from a blog written by a member of a group of Palestinian and Israeli women, Another Voice (

The writer is an Israeli woman who describes herself as an American-Israeli Messianic Jewish Jerusalemite, who is “a watcher, a doer, a carer, a wife, a mother”. Her reflection is certainly a perspective fitting for this Advent Season.

Jesus as a Syrian Refugee

I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man
who knew the fear of flight,
plucked by his parents in a sudden need to
abandon his homeland for a foreign one.

I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man
who knew loneliness, hunger and helplessness,
that heavy weakness
that taunted the mind and tempted the spirit.

I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man
who freely offered a message to the unwanted,
who healed those others accused
of bringing suffering on themselves.

I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man
who would escape to a boat for respite,
who passed through the waters
with fearful friends in a storm-tossed sea.

I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man
who knew what it meant to be despised and shamed.
Many have no interest in this desperate,
hungry, thirsty, sick stranger in need of clothing.

I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man
who said whatever you do for the least of these,
you do for me, in the guise of
the least of our day, a Syrian refugee.

I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus.

Sister Sharon Havelak

Justice and Peace

Sister Sharon is an artist, educator and long-time peace activist, who currently oversees All Good Things, a store/gallery/gift shop featuring art by the Sisters, handmade soaps and lotions, and Fair Trade products.*

She also serves as the coordinator of the Sylvania Franciscan’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation efforts, and teaches art history at Lourdes University. She keeps her creative juices flowing by painting on silk scarves.
* All Good Things gallery is located in our Sylvania Franciscan Village and many of the items are sold on our website.

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